What is a single assessment?

To help us in our work with you, we need to know more about you and your family. The social worker, with help from you, your family and other agencies, will gather information on your situation.

This process of getting to understand the situation, needs and wishes of your child and family is called a single assessment.

A single assessment helps us to agree with you what help and support you and your family might need and who could best give this help.

The social worker will work with you to complete the assessment. We will determine the depth of the assessment by the level of need or concerns.

For all assessments, we will gather certain core information. When there is enough information to make a decision, the social worker, with agreement from their manager, will write the assessment and agree on a plan of action to help you.

How is an assessment carried out?

The social worker will usually meet with you and your family several times. With your written consent they will also talk to other people and professionals to gather and share relevant information to complete the assessment. They will always do this in a way that helps you to have your say and encourages you to take part. Where children are old enough to take part in the assessment, the social worker will help and encourage them to do so.

We will make every effort to take account of your ethnic and cultural heritage in the assessment. We can arrange help in your first language.

After the social worker writes the assessment and it is authorised by their manager, they will send this to you in the post.

If you do not agree with the assessment, you can record your point of view on the assessment document and return this to the children’s team that completed the assessment. They will make sure that your views are clearly recorded.

How long will it take?

A single assessment ends when there is enough information to make a decision about what support may be needed. The social worker will agree the length and depth of the assessment, with their manager. We aim to complete most single assessments in 10 days but a more detailed single assessment can take up to 35 days.

What can you expect of us?

We will listen carefully to what you have to say, offer advice and, if appropriate, support to bring up your children and deal with any areas of difficulty. We will keep you informed about what we are doing and thinking. With a little help most families can sort out their difficulties and our aim is to help you do that.

What do you do with my information?

Your written consent to share information about you with other relevant people and agencies is important. Your social worker will discuss this with you and you will be asked to sign a consent form. We will record any relevant information we gather on computer records.

We treat any information you give us in confidence within the organisation, among those needing to know. If we need to discuss it with anyone else, we will usually ask your permission. The only exception is if we get information that suggests a serious threat to a child’s welfare. Your social worker will discuss this with you.

What happens next?

At the end of the assessment, and with your help, the social worker will draw up a plan of action. This may be no further action, after providing some advice or signposting to other services. The social worker may recommend further involvement from children’s social care, such as child in need (CIN) support or if there are concerns about the welfare of children they may recommend a child protection investigation.

If you disagree with anything, we will record your point of view. We will give you a written copy of the assessment and plan. 

Child In Need (CIN) plan

If a (CIN) plan is agreed then the social worker will arrange regular meetings with you and a core group of professionals to agree:

  • if the CIN plan is still required and if so, what needs to be done next, when and who by
  • if the CIN plan can step down to a common assessment framework (CAF) plan and if so, why and how that will be organised
  • if the CIN plan needs to step up to child protection and if so, why and how that will be organised
  • if the CIN plan is no longer required and if so, why and how it will end
  • if we cannot help you, we will advise you of other options or agencies that are available.

We will help you access any services you need as soon as possible. However, there are often more people needing services than there are services to give. This means that, although everyone agrees that you need a particular service, you might have to wait a while or we may have to find an alternative for you. We cannot guarantee the provision of a particular service.

Feedback about your single assessment

Once you receive the completed single assessment, it is important that we have your feedback on the assessment process and your comments on the information in the assessment.

Upon receiving the single assessment you will have received a reply slip, please complete this and tell us what you think about the information in this assessment. Please also let us know whether the information is correct and whether there are any factual changes you would like to make. Please return the reply slip to the children’s team that completed your assessment.

Send your feedback online

We also want to know your views on the assessment process and invite you to take a few minutes to complete a short questionnaire. You can fill in the questionnaire on the relevant link below.